UMBC women's lacrosse head coach Amy Slade has released the team's 2018 schedule. The Retrievers will face off against three 2017 NCAA tournament participants, which Slade believes helps her squad in and out of conference play.
"What we were thinking about was continuing to have a competitive schedule. [The America East] is very competitive, so by having our non-conference portion be just as competitive we can be prepared for conference play and the conference championship," Slade said.
The schedule also features three matchups against teams that the Retrievers have never faced before in the program's 45 years in existence.
"With adding some new teams, it's always fun and fresh for the kids to see teams that they haven't played before; I think that changes the dynamic of how a team gets up for a game, because if they haven't played that team before they aren't sure of what to expect," Slade said. "I think the unexpected is exciting for the kids. So, adding a couple of teams we haven't played in the past really helps us and helps us grow as a program to be able to play teams as they pop up all over the country"
The Retrievers open the season at UMBC Stadium as they welcome LIU Brooklyn for the first time since 2004 on Saturday, February 17. UMBC will travel up to Mount St. Mary's (Feb. 21) before returning home on Saturday, February 24 to face VCU. The Retrievers close out the month with a trip to College Park to take on defending national champions Maryland on Wednesday, February 28.
March opens with a pair of home contests against American on Saturday, March 3 and Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, March 7, the first-ever meeting between the Retrievers and the Chanticleers. UMBC travels to Duquesne (Mar. 10) and Longwood (Mar. 17) while fitting in a home contest against Johns Hopkins on Wednesday, March 14. The Retrievers will play back-to-back home contests as they open America East conference play on March 24 against New Hampshire and play host to Siena for the first time on March 28. UMBC closes out the month as they travel to UMass Lowell on March 30.
America East action continues into the month of April as the Retrievers face Binghamton on the road on April 4, before returning home to host back-to-back games as Albany (April 7) and Vermont (April 14) visit UMBC Stadium. The season concludes as the Retrievers pay a visit to five-time America East champion Stony Brook on Saturday, April 21 before returning home to host Hartford for the first time (April 28).
The America East championships are set for May 4 and 6, with the highest seed hosting the tournament. Last season, the Retrievers made a three-peat appearance in the tournament for the first time since 2010-12,
"As coaches and for this team, we constantly want to chip away and get better. Every year, we've shown that we're getting a little bit better – entering the tournament in fourth, entering in third, entering in third and losing to a really good Albany team by one, who went on to get an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament," Slade said. "So I think each year, we want to continue to raise the bar and raise where we are in the conference. For us to constantly be getting a little bit better every year is what we want to see; maybe not massive progress but small, incremental progress that is putting us on the map and solidifying us as a program."